Lots of people are doing 2014 Retrospective articles. but I decided there's less money to be made dwelling on the past if we can't also change our behavior and look to the future! I decided rather than write a 2014 retrospective, I'd write a 2015 prospective and see if we can't preempt some of next year's happenings so we can be ready for them. I think I'll write about what to expect the first half of the year, then do another one of these in six months. Sound good? But, first we have some 2014 left.
As 2014 draws to a close, some stores are having sales on singles. A good way to close out 2014 would be to take advantage. I'm not ordinarily one to buy from Star City Games due to their tendency to charge 15% more than everyone else, but...
If they are going to offer discounts on top of mispricings, who am I to argue? SCG is having a sale on "EDH and casual favorites" and if there are cards I think are poised to do big things in 2015, it's EDH and casual favorites.
Sure, Modern Masters 2015 is going to reprint a non-zero number of EDH and casual favorites, but we know a lot about Modern Masters 2015. It warrants its own section below.
A lot of us travel for the holidays, too, so try and get some deals on singles when you're out and about. I am visiting the in-laws and that affords me the opportunity to check out some new shops in their neck of the woods and you can't beat the chance to scope out some new territory and see if there is anything you can take advantage of.
I found quite a few deals, including a stack of EDH cards at one LGS that were underpriced by 30% and when I got an additional "25% off all Magic singles" at the register as part of their yuletide doorbuster deal, it was the start of a very Merry Christmas indeed.
Feeling charitable, I offered 25% off of the singles in my own case. There's a NM Force of Will in there for 25% off, and I hope not to see it next year. I'll sell a card for under buylist! I'm crazed by holiday cheer and a killer eggnogg my wife's grandfather makes with regular store-bought eggnog and a handle of Maker's Mark.
Let's stop beating around the bush, shall we? Let's make a 2015 Gameplan.
People are broke in January. Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa/whatever UFO-based winter holiday Scientologists celebrate has wiped people out. What little money they get from the two days they worked the week before Christmas and in their stockings is going to be wiped out by flights back home and gym memberships. As if! Gym memberships! "I'm going to lose this weight next year!" - a guy who will stop going to the gym the first week of February.
The Fate Reforged prerelease will happen this month. I imagine EDH mana fixing could take another small jump. I expect more three-colored generals. While Narset, Enlightened Master was the real winner last time, people are still trying to get there with kahns like Surrak Dragonclaw as well. Zurgo Helmsmasher is a very good khan as well, but hasn't really pushed as many prices up.
Still, there is a real possibility of a new general emerging from this lot and any cards old enough to be safe from reprint in Modern Masters are good targets. Proteus Staff was mentioned above because it's unfair with Narset and the jump in its price was directly related to Narset's spoiling.
Spoiler season will start soon and continue through January. Pay attention to what EDH players are saying about cards spoiled because unlike Standard cards, those spoilings will make older cards go way up before the set even comes out.
This month, Fate Reforged becomes legal. The first event where this set is legal in Standard will be widely watched. Stay glued to coverage and make sure you're on the QS Insider e-mail mailing list. Up-to-the-minute information is key and Fate Reforged could bolster existing archetypes and make them stronger and make new ones emerge. Cards from Theros block could go up as well, so keep your eyes glued to coverage, or at least your email inbox.
Modern and Legacy events are relevant too, with the set new. Treasure Cruise was identified early by Vintage and Legacy players. Pay attention to the cards Eternal players like because their foils have a lot of long-term upside. Few cards are worth buying before peak supply, but the exception to that is foils identified early by Vintage players--provided you're fast enough. Treasure Cruise was always $20, but Monastery Swiftspear doubled the first month in foil.
Speaking of peak supply, late February will see the beginning of some price drop-off in Fate Reforged as MODO redemption begins. I wouldn't buy much until March, though.
Peak supply of Fate Reforged will happen this month. This will be the cheapest time to buy staples. Since Fate Reforged will get drafted alongside Khans of Tarkir, this may be the month to buy your Khanslaught fetches if you like them as long-term growers. Will we see Zendikar fetches in this set? I'm not optimistic, but as soon as Fate Reforged stops being widely available, you may want to look at those, too.
March will be a slow-ish month, although Fate Reforged will get a clash pack and if the last one is any indication, there is a good chance of sick EDH foils. The foils Prophet of Kruphix became worth practically dirt as dealers tore into clash packs trying to get Courser of Kruphix. March of next year, we'll see any EDH foils in the Clash Pack become absurdly affordable and abundant like we did this year.
I really like cheap, foil Prophet of Kruphix and I imagine there will be some sicko card that Standard players ignore in the next one and you want to scoop those with both hands. If you don't think an alternate foil of a card so good in EDH that people are calling for it to be banned is a good investment at near dirt, you should reconsider your position.
Dragons of Tarkir prereleases at the end of March which seems super close to Fate Reforged because it is.
There will be a Banned and Restricted list announcement next April. Provided there are no emergency bannings and unbannings, this will be a very, very significant event if you ask me. I predict we see serious thought given to a banning of Treasure Cruise if whining about the card is any indication. I'm not predicting a banning, but I am predicting discussion surrounding it.
Danny Brown wrote a convincing piece about why it seems absurd that Misstep is banned in Modern. I don't know if it will get ubanned, but I bet they consider it.
A ballsy, called-shot that I am only semi-serious about is that I think it's time to consider unbanning Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I don't know that any of the oppressive decks would benefit from it, and I don't know how oppressive it would be. Bitterblossom was talked about more often than JTMS as a "unban it and I will make everyone regret it" card and that came in with a bang and petered out.
Jace's price will shoot up if it's unbanned irrespective of playability. People won't wait! I am not advocating buying them because there is no basis for me saying this other than wanting to make a ballsy call and look like a genius in the unlikely event that it pans out, but there you have it. I think Green Sun's Zenith is fine, too, so take what I saw about Modern with a grain of salt.
Also, Dragons of Tarkir is released this month and you will follow the same procedure as the release of Fate Reforged.
Modern Masters 2015 comes out in May. This will be very significant. With a promised wider availability than MM1 but a more expensive booster price, I expect similar things to happen to $5 EDH staples (they will become trash) but I expect the price of cards like Tarmogoyf should 'goyf be in the set (I really hope it is) to dip this time. It may take longer as there will be less of a rush, but with this set promising to be super draftable, a high pack price won't deter Limited degenerates. If $10 a pack seems distasteful, do nothing and watch prices go down.
Modern Masters 2015 doesn't reprint cards older than Mirrodin (which is relevant for EDH if not Modern) or newer than Zenidkar. Innistrad cards may be bolstered for another year by virtue of being spared a reprinting and I expect confidence in Snapcaster Mage to skyrocket as strategic, targeted reprints as event entry prizes are more likely to be mythics than non-mythics. Liliana of the Veil, Geist of Saint Traft and Griselbrand have already bit the dust in one form or another. Snaps is solid.
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is confirmed in MM15 and the other two Eldrazi titans seem virtually assured. For Emrakul to be usable in Limited, you need to enable him somehow, so it seems likely that there will be other expensive spells to justify those enablers. This is all conjecture, but I would be really surprised if there was no way to cast Emrakul in the set or there was a way to do it but only one Eldrazi in the set. It seems likely that we'll see significant Eldrazi business.
May brings us the Grand Prix MM2015 in Las Vegas. That weekend is my birthday as well. Be there or regret it. On a personal level, I won't accept excuses equal to or less severe than "my friend is getting married and wants to know if I will be a groomsman," because that was my situation for Vegas 1 in 2013 and I went to that.
I expect to see peak supply of Dragons of Tarkir this month, and with all of the sets that will be legal in Standard legal right now, Standard will be a rich environment. However, prices of Theros block cards will be falling in anticipation of the rotation. Rotation always means people will dump Theros cards cheap and it's a great time to pick up cards that will go up long-term.
Everyone has all but forgotten about Temples to a large extent, and I expect them to be very cheap at rotation. Gods are another good target. Anything that is spicy in EDH will rebound over time but will go largely ignored at rotation as people pay more attention to which cards are played in Legacy and Modern. Any Theros block stuff played in those formats will dip less, if much at all, which EDH staples are a great target. I can't wait to pay next to nothing for Temples and gods.
Magic 2016, the last ever core set comes out this month. It's going to pump the brakes on Tarkir block drafts and theoretically be a good time to buy those cards.
It's also going to be the last 5+ planeswalker set in all likelihood, at least for a while. 5+ in a block, sure, but not in a set. Core sets suck and they are boring, but being boring means they don't sell super well. Look how long the price of cards like Nissa, Worldwaker and Goblin Rabblemaster stayed up because there wasn't a ton of new supply coming in due to it being pretty miserable to redeem and draft. If Modern Masters 2015 is all gone, I guess it will get drafted quite a bit, but if not, price is the only thing making M16 look better than MM15 where drafting is concerned.
The first half of 2015 has a lot going on. Modern Masters 2015 is largely an enigma, but it promises to be a real event. Three-set blocks, core sets and local PTQs will be a thing of the past.
Refer to this advice as the year goes on and we'll revisit in six months to see how much of this panned out and what things that didn't pan out can teach us about the latter half of 2015. Thanks for reading, and prepare to buy me a celebratory shot when they ban Treasure Cruise and unban Jace and Mental Misstep!